Shot in black and white on location in a grey, overcast Paris, the film is rooted in the concrete reality of billboards, cafes and the metro. This gritty reality contrasts with the movie-inspired fantasies of the main characters, who play-act the part of gangsters, re-enacting shoot-outs in the street like school boys. As Godard himself says at one point, interrupting the action in voice over: “Franz thinks of everything and nothing. Uncertain if reality is becoming dream, or dream reality.”
This interjection occurs during the film’s most celebrated set piece, a spontaneous dance routine in a cafe during which Godard intermittently stops the action to comment on the thoughts of the three characters. Other famous scenes include a breakneck dash around the Louvre, and an actual “minute of silence”. These spontaneous moments have little to do with the plot, but have everything to do with giving the film its offbeat charm.